Major Thomas Young

Major Thomas Young

Persons in the habit of attending at Union upon public days within the last twenty years have hardly failed to notice an old gentleman moving about in the crowd. He was of rather a thick make, broad shoulders and brawny arms. Among his gray locks several deep scars may be traced across his head. If his right arm were made bare similar evidences of violent dealing would be manifest. This gentleman was familiarly known as Major Tom Young. Whence these scars? On the night before the Battle of Cowpens it was considered a matter of importance to strengthen Washington’s squadron of horsemen preparatory to battle. A call was made among the militia for volunteers to augment this corps. Thomas Young was then a youth of sixteen, but he had already taken some practical lessons on the battlefield. On that night he joined the cavalry under McCall. He went through the battle of the next day in safety, having accompanied Washington in his very effective evolutions on that occasion. After the surrender of the British infantry a company of fourteen dashed off to take possession of the British baggage wagons ten miles distant. Major Benjamin Jolly and a Frenchman called De Barron headed this party. It happened to pass Col. Tarleton while he was collecting his men after the retreat. Unconscious of this fact, they pressed on in comparative security.

A number of prisoners and pack horses were soon picked up. Jolly, not wishing to be impeded, ordered Thomas Young and some others to take charge of the prisoners and horses and conduct them to head quarters. In the exertion of this trust Mr. Young and party were met by Col. Tarleton and his cavalry.

Young wheeled and fled. Unfortunately he had exchanged horses in time of the battle. He was soon overtaken and, refusing to surrender, his head and arm were literally hacked over. He was finally overpowered and taken back to Tarleton. Though bleeding profusely he was taken along with the flying cavalry in their retreat.